Turkey supports anti-ISIL operations: President
Roadmap [in fight against ISIL] should be maintained with resolution, Turkish President Erdogan says

Turkey will do its part in the U.S.-led international coalition's fight against terrorism headed by ISIL, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has said.

Erdogan's comments came on Tuesday a day after the U.S. and five Arab nations carried out 14 airstrikes against ISIL militants in Syria.

Erdogan told reporters in New York: "We will take all steps that fall upon us."

"We regard such operations positively, as they are made against the terrorist groups in the region. This roadmap should be maintained with resolution."

"I believe a consensus is needed in this fight against terrorism," he added.

Hostage release

The president said such "steps" may well include both political and military contributions to the coalition's plan.

An anti-ISIL international coalition was set up in Saudi Arabia on September 11 after the signing of the Jeddah communique by the U.S. and 10 Arab states. Turkey refrained from signing the treaty.

ISIL captured large swathes of land in Iraq and Syria this summer, later declaring the territories to be under the control of a "caliphate".

Under a new strategy unveiled by Obama earlier this month, the U.S. plans to lead an international coalition against the militant group throughout Iraq and Syria.

The U.S. will look to Turkey to rise to the challenge posed by ISIL following the release of Turkish hostages they held in captivity in Iraq, U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry said on Monday.

'Sociological burden'

The 49 hostages – including Turkish diplomats, consular officials, their families and three Iraqi staff – were kidnapped from the Mosul consulate on June 11, a day after ISIL took control of Iraq's second-largest city.

Forty-six Turkish hostages arrived on Turkish soil following their rescue last Saturday.

Erdogan also reiterated the importance of building a buffer zone at the Turkey-Syria border.

"A no-fly zone is important. Second, a safe zone on the Syrian side is important. Only Turkey now hosts 1.5 million Syrians, and this has put a sociological burden on it," Erdogan said.

"And this issue has a third dimension: fighting with separatist terror groups."

Turkey has requested a no-fly zone in Syria since 2012 from the UN, but the international community has failed to support the call.

Turkey FM: more than 1,000 foreign fighters deported

Turkey has undertaken "the lion's share” of the counter-terrorism burden, including the deportation of foreign fighters from scores of countries, foreign minister Mevlut Cavusoglu said Tuesday.

Cavusoglu’s remarks came during the 5th Global Counter Terrorism Forum that he co-chaired with U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry.

"We've had to allocate resources for the detecting and deporting (of) more than 1,000 foreign terrorist fighters from almost 75 countries," he said, while adding that Ankara had drawn up a watch list of about 6,000 names.

As the world is facing a complex, decentralized and geographically diverse threat more than ever, the policies and methods should be aimed at preventing the recruitment of new ISIL fighters, he said.

The flow of foreign fighters and increased number of kidnappings for ransom, which has almost turned into an industry, are two main issues that need to be urgently dealt with, according to Cavusoglu.

Noting that it is impossible to deal with these threats without international cooperation, Cavusoglu said, "Prevention is much less costly than pursuing the threat."

Kerry told the forum that Turkey would take part in the US-led coalition against Islamic militants as 49 Turkish hostages held by ISIL have been freed.

"Turkey is very much part of this coalition, and Turkey will be very engaged on the frontlines of this effort," Kerry said. "Clearly Turkey had an initial challenge with respect to its hostages and that being resolved, now Turkey is ready to conduct additional efforts along with the rest of us in order to guarantee success."

Noting that ISIL is fed by illicit funding and a flow of foreign fighters, Kerry said that fighting the terror group is not "a question of a few strikes, of a few days" and more specific and tactical efforts such as cutting off funding and stopping the flow of foreign fighters are needed.

"The threat of foreign terrorist fighters is very real,” Kerry said "Security measures alone will not solve this problem.”

Like Cavusoglu, Kerry highlighted the challenge of ISIL's kidnapping for ransom.

While reiterating that the U.S. would not pay ransom for hostages, Kerry said that kidnappings has created an illicit market that funds the extremist group and paying ransom endangers the lives of journalists, doctors, and humanitarian aid workers in the conflict areas.

The Global Counter Terrorism Forum is an informal, multilateral counterterrorism platform formed in 2011 and co-chaired by Turkey's foreign minister and the U.S. secretary of state.


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Last Modified: 2014-09-24 07:56:34
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